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A bright star will experience a rare eclipse as an asteroid passes in front of it.
Science & Health

A bright star will experience a rare eclipse as an asteroid passes in front of it.

A rare eclipse will occur as an asteroid briefly blocks one of the largest and most luminous stars in the nighttime sky.

On Monday night and into Tuesday morning, a unique and brief event will occur that can be seen by millions of individuals living in a specific path that extends from Tajikistan and Armenia in central Asia, to Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Spain, and all the way to Miami, Florida and the Florida Keys, and some parts of Mexico.

Betelgeuse is the name of a red supergiant star located in the Orion constellation. Leona is an asteroid that can be found in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is characterized by its slow rotation and oblong shape.

Scientists are eager to gain further insights into the stars Betelgeuse and Leona by studying an upcoming eclipse, which is predicted to be a brief 15 seconds. In September, a team led by Spanish researchers observed an eclipse of a fainter star by Leona and estimated the asteroid’s size to be approximately 55 kilometers wide and 80 kilometers long.

The accuracy of the forecasts is still in question, along with the dimensions of the star and its vast atmosphere. It is currently unknown if the asteroid will block out the entire star, causing a complete eclipse. Alternatively, it could result in a “ring of fire” eclipse with a small fiery outline around the star. If it is a full eclipse, scientists are uncertain how long the star will remain concealed, possibly up to 10 seconds.

Astronomer Gianluca Masa, creator of the Virtual Telescope Project, stated that the exact scenario we will witness is unknown, adding to the excitement of the event. The project will be hosting a live webcast from Italy.

At a distance of approximately 700 light-years, Betelgeuse can be seen without the use of any equipment. However, using binoculars or small telescopes will improve the visibility. One light-year is equivalent to 5.8 trillion miles.

According to NASA, Betelgeuse is significantly brighter than our sun, with a magnitude thousands of times greater, and it also has a size approximately 700 times larger. The size is so massive that if it were to take the place of our sun, it would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

Betelgeuse, at the young age of 10 million years, is significantly younger than the sun, which is 4.6 billion years old. Based on its mass and rate of consumption, scientists predict that Betelgeuse will have a shorter lifespan.

In 2019, after many centuries of fluctuating levels of brightness, Betelgeuse experienced a significant decrease in luminosity when a large amount of material was expelled from its surface into outer space. According to NASA, this resulted in a temporary obstruction of the star’s light, but within six months, Betelgeuse returned to its previous level of brightness.

It is anticipated by scientists that Betelgeuse will undergo a supernova event, resulting in a powerful explosion, within the next 100,000 years.